Daniel Stone

Stories by Daniel Stone

  • Competing Job Summits Full of Pomp, Little Consequence

    President Obama will deliver the opening remarks this afternoon at the White House Jobs and Economic Growth Forum, a highly publicized and glitzy assembly of top administration officials and business leaders. Its purpose, according to the White House, is to create “an opportunity for the president and the economic team to hear from some of the leading CEOs, small business owners, labor leaders, nonprofit heads, and thinkers about ideas for continuing to grow the economy and put Americans back to work.”A valid, and on its face, valiant pursuit. But as my colleague Robert Samuelson points out today on Newsweek.com and in the pages of The Washington Post, the effectiveness of the meeting may be severely limited. Despite mounds of valuable advice from business leaders, Obama’s hands are tied when it comes to finding employment for the growing number of unemployed Americans for the sole reason that job creation is usually, and most effectively, the work of the private sector. “Companies,...
  • Pelosi's Penchant for Fancy Things

    Tip of the hat to Politico’s Jake Sherman (also former NEWSWEEK D.C. bureau intern) for some digging that shows Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s affinity for things of fancy. Since June, according to House expenditure reports, Pelosi and her staff have spent tens of thousands of dollars on personal office expenses, including $30,000 on food-and-beverage costs, $2,700 on bottled water, and $3,000 on fresh flowers in her office.All big numbers, to be sure. But let’s focus for a moment on the flowers, which seem the most expendable item. On its face, three grand sounds like considerable dough, especially for something as disposable as fresh flowers. But is it really much? Pelosi’s Capitol Hill office isn’t your average dentist’s waiting room. She has a massive setup in the Capitol with dozens and dozens of staffers. Broken up over four months, that’s really just about $750 per month, or $25 a day, which is barely the cost of lunch for two in the House cafeteria, if you skip dessert. Your...
  • Gavin Newsom Gets Testy Facing Unknown Future

    Since he dropped out of the California governor’s race last month, where has San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom been? That’s exactly what local TV news reporter Hank Plante asked the mayor last week during an interview—one of the few he has given over the past month. Newsom answered with the amount of San Francisco’s current deficit—$522 million—as reason for having ducked out of public view. But Plante wasn’t buying it. He challenged Newsom on a staff shake-up, including several resignations from senior staff. Then there were questions about an off-the-radar weekend getaway Newsom took to Hawaii without telling key members of his staff. And then about why he had missed so many important public appearances. By the time Plante got around to asking about the deficit, a clearly agitated Newsom was done being patient. Leaving the room, he shook his head and grinned at the camera, declaring “off the record” how "amazingly disappointed" he was in the questioning.In Newsom’s case,...
  • NEWSWEEK Explains Thinking Behind Palin Cover

    As Sarah Palin’s book tour kicked off this morning, the debate continues to rage about what exactly she means for America and the Republican Party. This week’s NEWSWEEK takes a look at those questions, exploring the unique challenges posed by a would-be candidate both loved and loathed but almost nothing in between.Our choice of a cover image this week has also stirred the debate. Yesterday, NEWSWEEK Editor Jon Meacham responded to critics of the photo, explaining the magazine’s policy, which is, and has always been, to choose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover.This morning, on the Today show, NEWSWEEK Managing Editor Daniel Klaidman further explained the editorial choice. “Since [Sarah Palin] has been on the national stage, there have been these questions about her gravitas and her seriousness. Sarah Palin has cultivated this image of a down-home, folksy, outdoorsy woman. And I'm not suggesting  it's not authentic, but there is...
  • Why the House Health Bill Probably Won’t Matter

    Judging from the scene on the House floor Saturday night, it was plainly obvious that something pivotal had just happened. The chamber’s passage of the Affordable Health Choices Act was the most substantial health reform passed since Medicare in 1965, and the bill’s razor-thin margin of victory, 220-215, gave a clear picture of just how close it was to failing. House Democrats filled the aisles to cheer the closing seconds of voting. Speaking to reporters afterward, Nancy Pelosi looked visibly moved. She said she “felt great,” and you could spot a tear running down her cheek.Pelosi may want to relish her victory, but her time to do so is limited. Following the House passage, Sen. Lindsey Graham declared that the bill would be “dead in the water” in the Senate. Hyperbole, perhaps, but his notion is right. Pelosi’s finely curated piece of legislation will receive a much colder reception on the other side of the Capitol. At best, it’s in for substantial compromise. More likely, though,...
  • Rep. Joseph Cao, the Sole Republican to Support Pelosi Health Bill

    House Minority Whip Eric Cantor promised Capitol Hill protesters on Friday that not one Republican would approve the Democrats' health-care bill. But Cantor's vow of unanimity slipped Saturday night when the final vote tally, 220 to 215 in support of the bill, revealed Rep. Anh (Joseph) Cao, a Republican from Louisiana, cast a yes vote. ...
  • High Anxiety as Leadership Scrambles for Last Health-Care Votes

    The partisan spread in the House would seem to give a clear indication of how Speaker Pelosi’s health-care vote will go down—or at least how she’d like it to. Democrats currently hold a 40-seat majority (258-218) over Republicans, which is sizable by historical standards. But as the House winds down its weekend debate of Pelosi’s brick of a bill, the vote won’t mirror the partisan spread. At least 20 conservative Democrats have already vowed to oppose it, and a growing yet unknown number say they’ll do the same. Would Pelosi open a vote on her own bill if it could actually fail?President Obama visited the Hill early Saturday to offer a pep talk to the Democratic caucus. According to an account of the speech reported by The Washington Post, he told Democrats that they would look back on this bill as their “finest moment in politics" and warned that even a no vote wouldn’t inoculate them from GOP attacks in next year’s elections.Who was the meeting meant to convince? Pennsylvania...
  • Why Creigh Deeds Lost Virginia

    With enough precincts reporting to make it official, Virginia Democratic candidate Creigh Deeds was handed a defeat Tuesday night, having lost his bid for governor by double digits. Of all the closely watched races of the day, it’s fair to say that the one in Virginia would have the most obvious outcome. Deeds trailed GOP opponent Bob McDonnell by an average of 10 points across several polls more than a week ago. Even after President Obama campaigned for him two weeks ago, the Democrat still couldn’t recover.Pundits have tried for weeks to tie the Deeds-McDonnell race to a larger national significance, specifically a coast-to-coast referendum on President Obama’s first year since his election. And understandably so—editors and TV producers like it when you can turn local news into national headlines. But that’s nothing compared to how much the Republican Party, which won two other state offices in Virginia on Tuesday, wanted to frame McDonnell’s win as a public, national rebuke of...
  • Gavin Newsom Calls it Quits, Succumbing to California Political Realities

    Earlier this month we took a close look at the structural support of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s run for governor of California next year—a race with heavy implications for the future of the downtrodden state. What we found was that Newsom was severely close to running out of gas, having called in Bill (The Closer) Clinton before the race even got going. So Newsom’s announcement late Friday evening that he would be calling it quits was less than shocking, yet it still contained an element of surprise owing to the rather abrupt stunting of a career once considered on a steep upward path.Timed strategically with the Friday-evening news lull, Newsom blamed the decision on the clichéd reason for most political resignations. “With a young family and responsibilities at city hall, I have found it impossible to commit the time required to complete this effort the way it needs to—and should—be done,” he said in a statement. He also said the decision was best for the residents of San...
  • Expletive in Arnold’s Veto an 'Odd Coincidence'

    California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may have built his reputation on being a tough guy, but some odd looks were exchanged around the Internet this morning when a letter the governor wrote to the state’s legislature was thought to have been decoded. In the five-sentence note, Arnold politely explained why he wouldn’t sign into law a fairly routine spending bill to finance the Port of San Francisco. But some astute folks noticed a far less courteous message lined up vertically along the left margin: "f--k you."We checked with the governor’s staff, who denies the expletive was deliberate. “It was just a weird coincidence,” says a senior staffer. To deflect attention, he pointed us toward other, what he calls “veto messages,” from this year, like “ear” and “poet” and “soap,” that are equally as random, albeit a bit more G-rated.If the message was indeed written by an angry staffer (or an angry Arnold) on purpose, it would have been an impressive feat of semantics. But if...
  • Environment Committee Republicans Ditch Climate Hearing

    Senate Republicans have made little secret of their intent to oppose cap-and-trade legislation. Last week Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe—possibly Congress's most vocal climate change skeptic and opponent of climate legislation—threatened that if environment committee chair Sen. Barbara Boxer tried any funny business before the markup of the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, such as not giving members enough time to review it, he would lead a boycott of the meeting among all Republicans on the committee, on which he is the ranking member. It would have been a brazen move to slow the committee’s debate by simply not showing up, thus causing the body to not make quorum. But for a party impotently in a 7-12 minority, Inhofe recognized that his options are limited. “The only leverage we have is the quorum leverage,” he told The Washington Post late last week.Inhofe hasn’t yet had to make good on his promise. In fact, this morning when Boxer opened the first of several high...
  • Obama Won't Go to Copenhagen for Climate Conference

    Capturing a bit of news already rankling environmentalists, The Times Online is reporting that President Obama will not be speaking at the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December. For several months, Obama’s presence was considered possible, even likely, but after the president won the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month, the White House discovered a small scheduling problem. Since the Nobel award ceremony, which Obama will attend, is on the second day of the conference, senior advisers figured Obama would just convey the U.S.’s climate and global-energy goals from his pulpit in Oslo—a city about 300 miles north that an unnamed administration official described as “plenty close” to Copenhagen.It wouldn’t have been very hard or expensive to make a side trip to Copenhagen on the way from or back to Washington, but one additional reason Obama will skip the conference likely has to do with the present state of negotiations, which have stalled over the past several months....
  • A Stimulus by Any Other Name . . . Would Probably Smell the Same

    Nancy Pelosi proved again today that members of Congress are no strangers to euphemizing. At a meeting this morning on Capitol Hill, Pelosi discussed a second round of stimulus spending that could soon be in order. But cognizant of growing aversion to additional federal spending, the speaker tiptoed around what it would be called.Speaking before reporters and other members of Congress, Pelosi called upon the thinking of several economists, including Decision Economics chief Allen Sinai and Economy.com’s Mark Zandi, to vouch for the need for more spending. This time, some of them have affirmed, federal dollars would be best directed toward states—especially broke ones like California and New York—to keep them from raising taxes or laying off public employees. Pelosi’s main talking point, and her reasoning for considering a second round of spending, has been that the recession has caused employers to think about ways to do more with less, and with fewer people. So even when the...
  • Mustached American of the Year?

    Now, we know what you’re thinking. Trust us, we’re thinking it too. (And no, it’s not the shocking fact that America apparently considers growing a mustache a competitive sport, which already blew our mind this morning.) But Eric Holder? The country’s leading mustache? Come on, people. He’s nice-looking and affable and all, and yeah, he deals with some pretty sexy political issues, but the country’s model ’stache? This is the person who represents American mustaches to the rest of the world. He’s our upper-lipped ambassador. Our dimple-fuzzed diplomat. Our . . . our . . . ’stached superintendent? OK, we’re done. But seriously, has the nomination committee even seen this guy, or this guy, or even, wait, is that a woman? Yep, sure is. Now that’s impressive.All we’re trying to say is, if Holder wants to compete in a competition that any postpubescent boy can reasonably enter, he’s really got to pick up his game. We’re thinking handlebar loops with little curlicues.Defending the presti...
  • Chamber of Commerce Hits Back at Apple

    Midday yesterday, we reported over at the Gaggle that Apple was the latest company to break its ties to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due to the business association’s stance on climate policy. Before then, four other large companies, including PG&E and Nike, had also severed all or part of their relations with the chamber, blaming the organization’s lobby efforts and rigid opposition to the cap-and-trade legislation making its way toward the Senate, which it claims would be a job killer....
  • At Chamber of Commerce, Member Exodus on Climate Issue a Big PR Problem

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hasn’t exactly minced its words in opposing the cap-and-trade legislation winding its way from the House to the Senate. The measure, it says, will kill jobs and lead to a slowing of business and thus, the economy. The national business group has used the same reasoning to lobby heavily against the Environmental Protection Agency’s additional efforts to limit emissions.Yet it’s becoming increasingly clear that not all of the organization’s members agree with that stance. It has about 3 million dues-paying businesses, but a growing number of large companies have jumped ship, canceling their subscriptions to the chamber’s business associations and lobby services. The slide started with utility giant PG&E lamenting the chamber’s "obstructionist tactics" on cap-and-trade. Two more large utility companies, PNM and Exelon, followed suit, along with Nike, which resigned its spot on the chamber’s board. Then, just as Silicon Valley was buzzing about...
  • Washington’s Funniest Celebrity? Hard to Say.

    Each year, Washington organizers put out a call for the district's funniest celebrity. And each year, what comes back is something of a groaner. It’s nobody’s fault, really. I mean, let’s be honest, D.C. isn’t exactly fertile ground for hilarity. Seriously, when was the last time you laughed uncontrollably about … health care? (“Go ahead, take end-of-life counseling! Really, take it!”)Last night was this year’s contest, an annual gathering of politicos, media types, and lobbyists exchanging a few homemade one-liners. The whole production is what might charitably be given an “A for effort." The lineup included Rep. Jackie Speier, U.S. News's Anna Mulrine, and chef Geoff Tracy. We don’t need to name names of who cracked jokes to crickets. We know it’s tough to get in front of a crowd and poke fun at yourself, especially when your job is to make people take you seriously. And plus, the event actually is designed as a charity benefit, so it’s all apparently for a good...
  • In Policy Toward Honduras, U.S. Government at Odds With Itself

    Manuel Zelaya speaks to a Venezuelan TV reporter on Tuesday. The deposed president sees an end approaching to the political crisis in Honduras. (Clip in Spanish)The political environment in Honduras remains deadlocked, with deposed president Manuel Zelaya holed up inside the Brazilian Embassy in Honduras with little food and no medical attention, still demanding his right to return to power. The situation has become so dire that the Organization for American States and other international groups have decried violations of human rights and a lack of press freedom instituted by the de facto government.The U.S. has been a big player in parsing out the mess. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Zelaya in early September when he visited Washington, after which she cut off $30 million in aid to Honduras until Zelaya was restored. Her position, and thus the official U.S. position, has been that Zelaya was democratically elected and was therefore illegally...
  • Climate Legislation Could Actually Spur Economic Growth

    If you’ve paid attention to the debate over cap-and-trade legislation, which has already begun its run through the Senate this week, you can easily spot the partisan arguments. Democrats and the liberal environmental groups that follow closely behind claim that in order to adequately mitigate climate change, we need to change how we think and what we do, starting with monitoring and taxing carbon emissions. Republicans, on the other side, see any departure from the current energy policy as an economic stop sign—an unnecessary burden that will reduce the incomes of the lower and middle classes.Over at Worldchanging magazine, executive editor Alex Steffen has some number crunching that seems to bunk some of the structure of the current debate. Critics of any form of climate bill argue that carbon-monitoring legislation would stunt economic activity. But could climate action, he asks, actually accelerate the growth of the economy? Through some nifty economic reasoning, the answer is...
  • Why Green Czar Van Jones Didn't Have to Resign

    Van Jones, the administration’s “green czar,” made news early Sunday after announcing he was resigning from his post at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. It’s normally a strategic move to announce unflattering news during a long holiday weekend, but Jones’s timing seemed to be at the behest of his critics. In recent weeks, several Hill Republicans have lobbed accusations that Jones was unfit to serve in the administration because of incendiary comments he made before assuming office in February. They also cited a questionable petition he signed in 2004 alleging that the 9/11 terrorist attacks may have been the work of the government. Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri called for a congressional hearing into Jones’s qualifications to serve. In his resignation statement, Jones took a swipe back. "On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me,” he wrote—then he left the building.Jones’s...
  • Zelaya's Well-Funded Tour of Washington: the Express Lane Back to Power

    In a large suite in Washington's Mayflower Hotel, Manuel Zelaya is surrounded by his brain trust. Several top advisers and diplomats drink coffee and talk strategy with the titular Honduran president, who was overthrown in a coup in late June and was removed from the country. But Zelaya isn't dwelling on the past. What matters to him now is getting his old job back, or at least winning back enough standing to return to his country. After he was denied reentry in early July, he made the rounds of Latin America to be seen with presidents and high-level ministers. It was helpful, but not enough. This week, he took his case to Washington. As others before him have learned, it is here that friendly chats with policymakers and earnest pleas for the rule of law can actually produce results: only yesterday, three days after Zelaya landed and immediately following a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the State Department announced that it would cut off $30 million in...
  • News You Can Haiku: End of Summer Recess Contest

    If we’ve learned anything over the past few weeks, it’s that even during congressional and presidential vacations, you can never completely pull the plug on politics. From those crazed town-hall meetings to new revelations about enhanced interrogations to a showy vacation on the Cape capped off by a sad public funeral, it’d be enough to fill a volume. But no, that would be too easy. Instead, here’s the challenge: help us sum up the August recess in a simple haiku. That’s right, just 17 syllables broken up into three lines, five-seven-five. Here are a few examples:Health care, climate, oy!At least Barack played some golfHats off to you, TedTown halls, loaded gunsA dynasty passes onBut will health reform? New torture detailsWhere is our leadership now?Appalachian TrailThink you can do better? Give us your best shot in the comments section below. We’ll profile the best ones in this space on Friday. And for first place, we’ll find you some NEWSWEEK swag.
  • Jean Kennedy Smith: The Last Kennedy Standing

    After the passing of Ted earlier this week, only one of the nine Kennedy siblings remains. Jean Kennedy Smith, the second-youngest and last daughter, is now the sole survivor of a family shrouded in perhaps equal parts of triumph and heartbreak. Jean was just 16 when her brother Joseph Jr. was killed in World War II. But less than two decades later, she saw her other brother Jack sworn in as president. She also traveled the country with another brother, Robert, as he nearly clinched the Democratic nomination in 1968, although she was with him the night he was slain in Los Angeles. After losing her other siblings in tragic ways─a plane crash and a botched surgery that left her sister Rosemary incapacitated and isolated─she and her brother Ted, along with their older sister Eunice (who died earlier this month), have carried the family's legacy of public service. Jean has often been recognized as the shy Kennedy, the quietest of a very public family. Less vivacious than her limel...
  • Boxer and Colleagues Feel the Heat on Cap and Trade

    There will be plenty of time next month for the Senate to debate a cap-and-trade policy, but some groups have already decided that the bill currently on the table is not an adequate solution to national energy and environmental concerns─and they're making sure to speak up early. Later today, more than 320 environmental and energy groups plan to deliver a letter to Calif. Sen. Barbara Boxer and her colleagues on the Senate Environment Committee that she chairs, arguing that the climate bill that the House narrowly passed in June is too diluted to reasonably curb carbon emissions and spur growth in renewable energy.Letters of support or opposition constantly fly through the halls of Capitol Hill, but this one is bound to turn some heads for the sheer number of names on it. The broad collection of signatories─form the Center for Biological Diversity to the Southern Energy Network and a whole host of municipalities, faith groups and social justice organizations─lays out in short...
  • Liberals' Lion: Photos and Analysis of Ted Kennedy's Life and Record

    News broke early this morning that Massachusetts Sen. Edward (Ted) Kennedy had died, succumbing to a battle with brain cancer he started waging a year ago. He was 77. Kennedy first entered the U.S. Senate in 1962 as one of the body's youngest members (he was 30) after his brother ascended to the presidency. Since then, he crafted for himself one of Washington's highest profiles─not just because of his longevity, but also his legislative brokering on issues like health care, immigration, and education.Kennedy was no stranger to the pages of NEWSWEEK, having appeared on our cover close to a dozen times, the last time in July, when the senator drafted a cover essay on his fight for health-care reform. But NEWSWEEK reporters and editors have captured Kennedy's bumps and milestones for decades. Our team has pulled together this collection of photos as a look back at some of those markers.NEWSWEEK's Evan Thomas also has a colorful and in-depth look back at Kennedy's life as the youngest...